Creative prompt: You shall go to the ball.

I spotted this single wellington boot stranded on a traffic island in the middle of a busy road. It was another photo that was a bit difficult to take because there not a lot of space in that particular spot and I don’t like to linger long at all between the two lanes, even when there is little traffic like there was on this occasion. But the little boot spoke to me, and I did stop very briefly to grab this little photo.

When I saw it the phrase ‘you shall go to the ball’, immediately jumped into my mind, reminding me of fairy tales and lost glass slippers. There have of course already been modern day versions of cinderella, although I do not recall any of them featuring a tiny ladybird wellington boot.

This particular prompt has been the starting point for a new, wistful creative project for me. Look out for news about that this Christmas time (hopefully!).

I’m not a huge fan of creative exercises, so it’s not my habit to tell people what to do with these prompts. There are lots of options – a scene, some flash fiction, a short story, an idea for a short film or a physical piece of art. If you do have a go with this one and would like to drop the result in the comments please do so. I would be very interested to see what people make of these.

Thank you for reading. I also write, make art and films. If you like these prompts and want to get a copy of a free short book of them I wrote, and to hear more about my writing projects please join my mailing list here. You can see my films at my YouTube channel here. You can see things with my designs on at my shop here. Could even treat yourself if you wanted to. Just saying. If buying art is not your thing, but you would like to support what you see I also have a Patreon Page here.

Creative prompt: a sacrifice to the weather gods

We’ve had some turbulent weather recently, and on one of my morning walks I spied a number of umbrellas that had been lost of discarded on the pavement. The shape of this one was particularly attractive to me. The canopy was caught by the wind and billowed outwards, like a tent or parachute. The shape, even while lying on the floor, still suggested something protective to me. (I actually filmed a bit of footage of this and posted it in my mini creative prompts series on YouTube – if you would like to see that click here).

While I’ve not included this post in my recent series on ‘Offerings’, I feel like this picture is related to that little group of prompts. When I took this picture we had experienced the particular blustery combination of wind and rain that guarantees using an umbrella will be a struggle. The attempt to get to the train station in time while keeping relatively dry may involve the sacrifice of a noble umbrella to the gods of wind or rain on days like this.

This one seemed to be in relatively good condition, leaving me to wonder who may have abandoned it to the weather, or what kind of rush they may have been in to result in them leaving it there.

I’m not a huge fan of creative exercises, so it’s not my habit to tell people what to do with these prompts. There are lots of options – a scene, some flash fiction, a short story, an idea for a short film or a physical piece of art. If you do have a go with this one and would like to drop the result in the comments please do so. I would be very interested to see what people make of these.

Thank you for reading. I also write, make art and films. If you like these prompts and want to get a copy of a free short book of them I wrote, and to hear more about my writing projects please join my mailing list here. You can see my films at my YouTube channel here. You can see things with my designs on at my shop here. Could even treat yourself if you wanted to. Just saying. If buying art is not your thing, but you would like to support what you see I also have a Patreon Page here.

Creative prompt: Offerings #3

I saw these coins while I was on the way to taking my son to nursery. Someone had left them on a bollard on a traffic island in the middle of a busy road. I managed to get this photo on the way back. It’s not the best photograph. The traffic island is quite narrow, and I didn’t want to hang around with the pram as it was a bit of a precarious position to stand in.

But I did want to get the photograph because it sparked an idea for me. Someone had left coins in the middle of a crossing, reminding me of the many myths of the crossings people needed to make from this life into the underworld. For example in Greek mythology the soul of a person would need to pay the ferry man Charon a coin for passage across the River Styx.

The sight of these coins at the crossing made me wonder. What could the person who left these be paying passage for?

I’m not a huge fan of creative exercises, so it’s not my habit to tell people what to do with these prompts. There are lots of options – a scene, some flash fiction, a short story, an idea for a short film or a physical piece of art. If you do have a go with this one and would like to drop the result in the comments please do so. I would be very interested to see what people make of these.

Thank you for reading. I also write, make art and films. If you like these prompts and want to get a copy of a free short book of them I wrote, and to hear more about my writing projects please join my mailing list here. You can see my films at my YouTube channel here. You can see things with my designs on at my shop here. Could even treat yourself if you wanted to. Just saying. If buying art is not your thing, but you would like to support what you see I also have a Patreon Page here.

Creative prompt: Offerings #2

I saw these jugs early in one morning, while I was taking Baby Magpie off to nursery. I stopped to take the picture on the way home, and by the evening they were gone. In my post last week I wrote about the offerings members of my local community make to each other. When I saw these jugs I felt that this could be an offering of a different kind. I remember my aunt making wine in jugs like these when I was a child, and have watched the bubbles rise and collect in the top of the jug as various kinds of fruit fermented.

For me these jugs felt much more like an offering of a mystical or spiritual kind. Perhaps these jugs held an offering of wine for the local street gods who reside over our community, or an offering of mead to the ancient spirits of the land that lies below the streets tarmacked pavements. It makes me wonder what those street gods, or those ancient spirits may be like, and what they may think of us.

I’m not a huge fan of creative exercises, so it’s not my habit to tell people what to do with these prompts. There are lots of options – a scene, some flash fiction, a short story, an idea for a short film or a physical piece of art. If you do have a go with this one and would like to drop the result in the comments please do so. I would be very interested to see what people make of these.

Thank you for reading. I also write, make art and films. If you like these prompts and want to get a copy of a free short book of them I wrote, and to hear more about my writing projects please join my mailing list here. You can see my films at my YouTube channel here. You can see things with my designs on at my shop here. Could even treat yourself if you wanted to. Just saying. If buying art is not your thing, but you would like to support what you see I also have a Patreon Page here.

Creative prompt: Offerings #1

In the area we live in there is a tradition of people leaving things they no longer need outside of their houses, on the pavement, in the hope that they will find new homes. Baby Magpie and I were walking to the swimming pool when we saw these twin chests of draws, and the tantalisingly open bag of toys on the top. We stopped for a moment to pick a toy and then went on our way, leaving the rest for some other lucky soul.

I like the spirit behind this tradition, in which people offer things to each other in a relatively anonymous way. Of course it is a convenient way to get rid of things, but there is also a generosity to it. The person offering the gift cannot always know who will receive it, friend or foe.

It feels like a silent form of communication within a community. ‘I no longer need this thing, but maybe you do. We would like for this object, which has been useful to us, to be useful to someone else now. We will not waste its potential and send it to landfill.’ It stands in contrast to the silence communications of the fly tippers (of which unfortunately we also have a strong local tradition), which feels much more to me to be ‘we don’t need this junk anymore, someone else can deal with it.’

When I see these objects I sometimes wonder if they may be the start of a story, or a relationship between two people. Perhaps someone else, seeing that bag of toys, would have lingered long enough to meet the person who made this offering as they dashed to the shops, and said hello.

I’m not a huge fan of creative exercises, so it’s not my habit to tell people what to do with these prompts. There are lots of options – a scene, some flash fiction, a short story, an idea for a short film or a physical piece of art. If you do have a go with this one and would like to drop the result in the comments please do so. I would be very interested to see what people make of these.

Thank you for reading. I also write, make art and films. If you like these prompts and want to get a copy of a free short book of them I wrote, and to hear more about my writing projects please join my mailing list here. You can see my films at my YouTube channel here. You can see things with my designs on at my shop here. Could even treat yourself if you wanted to. Just saying. If buying art is not your thing, but you would like to support what you see I also have a Patreon Page here.

Creative prompt: Broken strings.

I walked past this broken tennis racket a number of times, and each time I thought ‘that’s not what I’m looking for’. But I began to feel more and more intrigued as I noticed the racket had moved each time I saw it. The first time I saw it, it was in a dark corner under an overhanging building where I would not have been able to get a good shot. But slowly it seemed it inch more and more out onto the pavement, as if creeping into the light, maybe wanting to be seen.

When I finally decided to stop and take a photo, it had manged to move several hundred meters down the street, and was almost in the middle of the pavement, right in my path. I felt as is it was asking me to take the photo, so I did stop and get out my phone.

The way the strings curve and wind against each other, and the way the frame, although broken, still sits in almost it’s original form is both beautiful and sad to me, as if the shape of it tries to suggest better days that are now past.

Once I had taken my photo, I did not see the racket again, as if satisfied, it melted away. Of course it is just a broken old object laying on the pavement, and someone has probably thrown it in the bin. But there was something about this episode that spoke to me, as if the racket wanted to be seen, and to be documented, to say ‘I existed’. I think there is something in this sentiment that we as humans can relate to.

I’m not a huge fan of creative exercises, so it’s not my habit to tell people what to do with these prompts. There are lots of options – a scene, some flash fiction, a short story, an idea for a short film or a physical piece of art. If you do have a go with this one and would like to drop the result in the comments please do so. I would be very interested to see what people make of these.

Thank you for reading. I also write, make art and films. If you like these prompts and want to get a copy of a free short book of them I wrote, and to hear more about my writing projects please join my mailing list here. You can see my films at my YouTube channel here. You can see things with my designs on at my shop here. Could even treat yourself if you wanted to. Just saying. If buying art is not your thing, but you would like to support what you see I also have a Patreon Page here.

Creative Prompt: Soft Toy

I spotted this little guy on the way home from dropping Baby Magpie off at nursery. My best guess from their anatomy is that think they are a skate. There is something about the shape of the toy that caught my eye, and the contrast of the soft fabric used to make this toy, with the cold slick surface of the real fish prompted me to stop and take a photo.The variety of greys in the cloth are also attractive to me.

However, now I am writing this post I find that I don’t have any deep, or even any shallow thoughts to add to it. Today I decided to post the photo because I liked it. I think that is enough sometimes.

The next day when I walked along that road the fish was gone. I hope they were reunited with their owners.

I’m not a huge fan of creative exercises, so it’s not my habit to tell people what to do with these prompts. There are lots of options – a scene, some flash fiction, a short story, an idea for a short film or a physical piece of art. If you do have a go with this one and would like to drop the result in the comments please do so. I would be very interested to see what people make of these.

Thank you for reading. I also write, make art and films. If you like these prompts and want to get a copy of a free short book of them I wrote, and to hear more about my writing projects please join my mailing list here. You can see my films at my YouTube channel here. You can see things with my designs on at my shop here. Could even treat yourself if you wanted to. Just saying. If buying art is not your thing, but you would like to support what you see I also have a Patreon Page here.. Just saying. If buying art is not your thing, but you would like to support what you see I also have a Patreon Page here.

Creative Prompts: Experiments on YouTube

Over the last year or so I’ve been posting creative prompts on a semi-regular basis. The format I’ve settled into recently has been to take a photo of something I find quirky or interesting, and to post that with a short explanation of what it makes me think of, or the story of finding that thing.

Over time I’ve noticed that I’m really drawn to things that people leave behind, and my photographs frequently feature objects that have been lost or discarded on the streets near where I live. These things often catch my eye, and provoke thoughts that could form the beginning of a story, so I offer them up in the hope that they may so this for other creatives.

However, getting too comfortable with a particular format can lead to it growing stale, so I have recently been thinking about branching out and experimenting with different types of media. As long time readers of this blog may know, I have a very neglected YouTube channel that I’m still trying to work out what to do with. YouTube have recently launched their Shorts style of video, I think in an attempt to rival TickTock. The idea is to post short videos that are less the 60 seconds, and I think are made ‘in the moment’.

While I’m not really an ‘in the moment’ creative, I was attracted to this short format for playing around with my creative prompts. So I have posted a couple of clips on the channel of things that I’ve filmed over the last few years that I find kind of interesting because of the atmosphere they create, or their ability to suggest a story.

The video above is a series of clips I shot several years ago when I was doing a course in documentary film making. I have cut them together in a way that I think suggests a story, and thought that this may be a good starting place for someone to write a scene or a story. Please go and have a look, drop any ideas, pieces of writing, or links to other forms of art in the comment here or on the video itself.

Thank you for reading. I also write, make art and films. If you like these prompts and want to get a copy of a free short book of them I wrote, and to hear more about my writing projects please join my mailing list here. You can see my films at my YouTube channel here. You can see things with my designs on at my shop here. Could even treat yourself if you wanted to. Just saying. If buying art is not your thing, but you would like to support what you see I also have a Patreon Page here.

I wrote a book for people who read my newsletter: would you like it?

For the last few months I have been working on a little writing project on the side. I had been enjoying writing the creative prompts posts I have been publishing most Fridays, and decided to collect some together into a short book as a kind of thank you to people who decided to sign up to my newsletter.

In the process I added in some of my thoughts about the psychology of creativity, expanded on the descriptions for all of the creative prompts, and added in a few that have not, and will not be, published on my blog here.

I finished it a couple of weeks ago, and now a few people have been able to give it a read. The feedback has been kind, so I am happy enough with it to release it into the world and see what people think of it.

If you would like a copy, and would like to hear semi regular updates on my creative work through my newsletter, please sign up for it here.

Thank you for reading. I also write, make art and films. If you like these prompts and want to get a copy of a free short book of them I wrote, and to hear more about my writing projects please join my mailing list here. You can see my films at my YouTube channel here. You can see things with my designs on at my shop here. Could even treat yourself if you wanted to. Just saying. If buying art is not your thing, but you would like to support what you see I also have a Patreon Page here.

Creative Prompt: Mission Control

Sometimes I really love living in London because it throws up all sorts of interesting and odd things to see. I was walking with my son, when I saw these remote controls all lined up on the pavement, against a wall. I’m still not sure what to think of them, and find it intriguing that someone would leave them out this way.

This spot is on a regular route I take, and I have passed it several times since. Bit by bit the collection has been dismantled completely. I can only assume that people saw these and decide one or more of them would be useful, and that each one has been claimed by someone.

What does this little collection make you think of? Who could have left them there?

I’m not a huge fan of creative exercises, so it’s not my habit to tell people what to do with these prompts. There are lots of options – a scene, some flash fiction, a short story, an idea for a short film or a physical piece of art. If you do have a go with this one and would like to drop the result in the comments please do so. I would be very interested to see what people make of these.

Thank you for reading. I also write, make art and films. If you like these prompts and want to get a copy of a free short book of them I wrote, and to hear more about my writing projects please join my mailing list here. You can see my films at my YouTube channel here. You can see things with my designs on at my shop here. Could even treat yourself if you wanted to. Just saying. If buying art is not your thing, but you would like to support what you see I also have a Patreon Page here.